Best of Amsterdam: Coffee & Chocolate Part 2

Lot Sixty One

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On the way back into the city from White Label is Lot Sixty One another of Amsterdams coffeeshop roasterys, swinging past we popped in to see what they had to offer. Set out on two floors the retail counter is up on the top ground floor level, with the roaster and additional seating down a set of stairs to the left. Approaching the counter there was brewed coffee available to order, but their batch filter was an Ethiopia Tchembe, which had come via ninetyplus and so I leapt at the chance to try some.

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Arriving with aromas of strawberrys and chocolate, I had a feeling this was everything I was hoping for. To taste there was plenty of fruity strawberry top notes with a base of dark chocolate caramel and a smooth mouthfeel.

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We sat in next to the roaster, enjoying the basement views back up into the café, watching the people come and go and the light changing from the pavement side window upstairs. The coffee was excellent and I was more than looking forward to the Tchembe that Dark Woods were roasting back at home.

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http://lotsixtyonecoffee.com/

Kinkerstraat 112
1053 ED Amsterdam

Urban Cacao

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Firmly back in the city we popped into our first chocolate shop of the day seeing mountains of colourful chocolate bars available from the outside window. Stepping inside, the building was more like a chocolate factory than it was a chocolate shop, similar to the roastery cafes we’d been visiting earlier this was a chocolate shop with on site production facilities.

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Browsing the table of chocolate bars, there was plenty of complimentary samples to try and so we picked our way through a few, testing the various different origins. With everything from Ecuador to Papua New Guinea on offer there was a fairly continent-al tour of chocolate going on. Eventually we settled on the Madagascan as our favourite picking up a bar to take to the counter.

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Here we were faced with an exciting array of chocolates to choose from and so we set about selecting a few to take with us to enjoy while walking around Amsterdam. The highlight of which was the passionfruit, which had bright acidic fruit flavours with a creamy and refined nature to it. Packing up our takings we headed over to our second chocolate destination.

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http://urbancacao.com/

Rozengracht 200
1016 NK Amsterdam

Chocolatl

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One of the best chocolate shops I’ve ever been in, Chocolatl stocks the whos who of the world’s best chocolatiers and has an uncompromising collection of chocolate bars. At the time of our arrival the conversion rate from pounds to euros was pretty favourable and so I could see this turning into an expensive visit.

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The walls were lined with an impressive array of different chocolatiers, from Amedei to Akesson’s, Friis Holm to Francois Pralus, Dandelion to Dick Taylor, Cacaosuyo to Chocolate Tree  and plenty more in between. The choice was never ending and the selections ever more enticing.

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Here we met Adil, not just a store clerk, but a man more passionate about chocolate than probably anyone I’ve ever met, this was his cave of wonders and so we stayed to chat chocolate as we browsed his collection for pieces to take home. We chatted about chocolate makers and Georg Bernardini’s book Chocolate – The Reference Standard including our personal opinions on our favourite bars, while carefully selecting chocolate bars from the shelves.

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I would have liked to take them all, but given limited luggage space and the potential sum this extensive collection might rack up, I stuck to a few key bars, picking as best I could. Adil encouraged us to try some Geert Vercruysse single origin chocolates, which were of a great quality, but restraining myself I stuck to selecting just single origin bars to take away with me. Below is the modest but great haul that made it home to England with me. In the end this wasn’t just the best chocolate shop in Amsterdam, this was one of the best chocolate shops.

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http://chocolatl.nl/

Hazenstraat 25-A
1016SM Amsterdam

C.T. Coffee & Coconuts

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The following morning, we awoke in need of coffee and breakfast again and could think of no better place to fulfil these needs than at Coffee & Coconuts. Entering inside, the building was vast and given the exterior and some remnants of the old décor we had to assume this had one been a theatre. Given the option we tend to always take up seats at the kitchen table or bar, so we can casually watch the action, here was no exception, with almost three floors of seating the place was busy, but luckily the bar remained fairly empty so we took up position there.

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Browsing the menu, there was an option for brewed coffee, but with plenty of specialty juices available and an extensive espresso menu, not many people were ordering brewed. Enquiring over the bar, the barista explained they had a Colombian coffee available for brewed, more than I happy I ordered it up and watched it brewed on V60 in front of us.

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I later discovered the coffee was my second Colombian roasted by While Label that I’d tried since arriving in Amsterdam. The coffee arrived shortly before the food with roasted aromas featuring notes of cherry and chocolate. To taste it changed to a sweet and zesty cup that featured granny smith notes with almonds and a caramel sweetness.

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As I’ve said before, you can’t beat coffee with good eggs and it wasn’t long until Coffee & Coconuts take on shakshuka arrived.

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Coffee & Coconuts was a vast and airy space with a relaxed feel to it, which reminded me somewhat of Workshop Coffee in London in terms of its layout and atmosphere. It’s history as a former cinema leaves a big, but positive impression on this place making it ideal for enjoying the theatre of its kitchen. More than satisfied we headed back out for more adventures in Amsterdam.

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http://ctamsterdam.nl/

Ceintuurbaan 282-284
1072 LR Amsterdam

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